Shavegrass.

Botanical Name: Equisetum arvense
Family: Equisetaceae (horsetail)
Other common names: Pewterwort, Scouring Rush, Shavegrass, Equisetum, Queue de Cheval, Bottlebrush, Dutch Rushes, Giant Horsetail , Dutch Rushes, Paddock-pipes, Pewterwort, Scouring Rush, Toadpipe

Habitat: Horsetail is widely distributed throughout the temperate climate zones of the Northern hemisphere, including Asia, North America and Europe.
Description:Horsetail is an herbaceous perennial with a hairy, tuberous rhizome. The stems are erect, without leaves or hairs and have black-toothed sheaths with whorls of spreading, green branches.
HARVEST: Infertile plants in late summer. Horsetail is an ancient plant which goes through two stages of development. In early summer a fertile form rises and dies back to be followed by the more well known late summer, but infertile form. It is this later incarnation that is used.

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MEDICINAL USES:
An all-purpose herb that is good for the whole body.
Heavy in silica; strengthens fingernails and hair, especially good for split ends.
Helps body utilize and hold calcium; used in herbal calcium combinations.
Helps kidney problems, especially kidney stones.
Kills eggs of parasites and expels parasites.
Helps to dissolve tumors.
Good for eye, ear, nose, throat and glandular disorders.
Has been used in the following:

Bladder,Diuretic, Hair, Kidneys, Kidney stones , Expels parasites, worms
A source of calcium and silica.

Horsetail is a healing herb, rich in nutrients and high in silica, which helps the body absorb calcium and promotes strong, healthy nails, teeth, hair, skin and, perhaps most importantly, strong bones. This is particularly beneficial for countering the bone loss and osteoporosis experienced by menopausal women. Horsetail has strong astringent properties that have been used to control internal and external bleeding for centuries, and it also acts on the genitourinary tract to relieve many urinary ailments.

Horsetail is rich in silica, which helps to soothe and strengthen connective tissue. Silicon is a vital component for bone and cartilage formation, and it helps the body to absorb and utilize calcium,

which is of great value in treating fractures and bone diseases, including rickets and osteoporosis. Horsetail is used to strengthen bones, teeth, nails and hair. The improved cartilage helps to lessen inflammation and combat joint pain, arthritis, gout, muscle cramps, hemorrhoids, spasms and rheumatism. A French company was awarded a patent that includes isolated silica compounds from Horsetail for treating many bone disorders and rheumatoid arthritis.

The beta-carotene content in Horsetail, a compound closely related to vitamin A and sometimes the precursor to vitamin A, is believed to be beneficial to good eye health. Researchers have claimed that this nutrient may significantly decrease the risk of developing night blindness, dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea and other eye disorders.

The highly nutritious qualities of Horsetail has been effective in promoting healthy hair and nails. The silicon and magnesium content in Horsetail is said to be very helpful for improving the quality of hair. There are claims that silicon (which may be found in vegetables, fruits, horsetails and oats, etc.) will strengthen hair and cause thickening of nails and hair within weeks. There are also reports that it promotes faster growth.

It is used for the treatment of prostate problems, urinary tract infection, kidney stones, incontinence, cystitis and urethritis as well as arthritis and hemorrhage. It is helpful for repairing connective tissue and cartilage because it has high contents of silica. It is also used in healing wounds.

As a mild diuretic, Horsetail has been used to promote urination and helps to relieve kidney and gallbladder disorders. This is also said to be helpful for edema in some cases of arthritis and swelling of the legs, as well as tuberculostatic conditions. Horsetail is an herb used to treat a urine infection and an enlarged prostate gland in men. The herb is used to reduce urinary tract irritation and help relieve prostatitis, cystitis and urethritis.

Horsetail’s further effects on the urinary tract have been used to treat enuresis (bed wetting) in children and incontinence (loss of urine) in adults. Horsetail is considered mild enough for use by delicate and weak persons (although not for prolonged periods of time).

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Horsetail is a powerful astringent that has made it effective for treating both internal (bleeding ulcers, etc.) and external bleeding. Those same properties have been employed to treat urinary incontinence and bed-wetting.

Women may not only find Horsetail beneficial for strengthening bones, hair and nails, but the silica is also thought to promote the growth of collagen (the protein found in connective tissue), which is a great help for improving skin health. Horsetail may be added to skin care products and to anti-ageing lotions.

When used externally, Horsetail has been used to stop bleeding wounds and promote rapid healing. It is thought to be a good wash for swollen eyelids and when used in a bath, will invigorate the body and increase circulation and metabolic rate by feeding the body through the skin.

Recommended Dosage:

Take two (2) capsules, two (2) to three (3) times each day with water at mealtimes.

 

Horsetail contains chemicals that have a mild diuretic action–they promote the loss of water from the body. Taken orally for a few days, at most, horsetail may relieve mild swelling caused by excess water in the body. Historically, it has also been used to treat bladder, kidney, and urinary tract infections, but prescription diuretics (“water pills”) and antibiotics are now much more effective for both of these uses.

More recently, horsetail has been studied for its possible usefulness in treating arthritis, osteoporosis, and other conditions of bones and cartilage. Horsetail contains relatively large amounts of silica and smaller amounts of calcium. Both silica and calcium are components of bones, joints, and connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments. It is believed that proteins in body tissues need silica to combine properly. Isolated results from early studies of animals show that horsetail may also have some pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, which could add to its potential as a treatment for arthritis and related conditions. Some case reports relate the use of horsetail to lower incidences of osteoporosis. However, more research–including placebo-controlled studies in humans–needs to be conducted to determine whether or not horsetail may be safe and effective for bone and joint conditions.

Other chemicals in horsetail have an astringent effect that may lessen bleeding and speed healing of minor skin injuries such as cuts and scrapes when it is applied to the skin. An astringent helps shrink and tighten the top layers of skin or mucous membranes, thereby reducing secretions, relieving irritation, and improving tissue firmness. Oil distilled from horsetail has shown some anti-infective effects in laboratory studies. Because it may tighten skin tissue, horsetail is often included in nonprescription “anti-aging” skin care products.

COSMETIC:
Used for brittle nails: Make a decoction of 2 oz. dry herb in 3¾ C. (1½ pint) water for 20 minutes; soak nails.

Contraindications:
Pregnant and nursing women or men with prostate cancer should avoid Horsetail. This herb should not be used for prolonged periods of time nor in excessive amounts (many times the recommended dosage). Older adults, children and people with cardiac disease or high blood pressure should not use the herb without first consulting a physician.

Other Uses:
VETERINARY:
The tea has been used for sores on domestic animals.

DYE:
The sterile stalks produce yellow with an alum mordant; gray-green with copperas mordant; grass green with blue vitriol mordant.

GARDENING:
Biodynamic treatment for fungus diseases and rusts: Take 1½ oz. of dried herb and cover with cold water; bring to a boil and let boil 20 minutes; cool and strain; use one part to 19 parts of water and use as a spray.
PLANT DECOCTION = Slowly simmer 1 heaping cup of cut plant in 1 quart of water for 20 minutes; strain and dilute in 2 gallons of water; stir vigorously; spray with a fine mist sprayer; the more frequently it is used, the more diluted it should gradually be.
For POWDERY MILDEW = Cover fresh picked plants with water; allow to ferment 10 days; dilute and use as a spray.

Disclaimer:

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.drugdigest.org/DD/DVH/HerbsWho/0,3923,4126%7CShave%252Dgrass,00.html
http://www.herbalextractsplus.com/horsetail.cfm
http://www.morethanalive.com/Horsetail-Shavegrass-cut
http://www.herbsguide.net/horsetail.html

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